Mental illness has been shown to affect the body’s blood pressure and heart rate
Mental health is closely linked to changes in blood pressure and heart rate, according to researchers at the University of South Australia.
Research published in BioMedical Engineering shows a connection between mental illness and high blood pressure that can lead to heart disease or organ damage.
Dr. Renly Lim of the University of South Australia and colleagues from Malaysian universities believe there is substantial evidence that mental illness interferes with the body’s autonomic processes, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiration.
Chronic stress exacerbates the detrimental effects of reduced heart rate variability (HRV), which is frequent in patients with mental illness.
HRV is more complicated than a person’s heart rate, which is the number of times the heart beats in a minute. HRV is the interval between two heartbeats, and it should fluctuate in response to stress.
Our goal is not a consistent heart rate change, but rather a high fluctuation in heart rate. The best way to achieve this is through eating healthily, exercising regularly, maintaining a low level of stress, and maintaining a healthy mental state.”
The body’s fight-or-flight response, which is frequent in persons with chronic conditions including heart disease and depression, causes low HRV.
The heart needs between 10-20% of its systolic pressure to drop at night to allow it to relax, while big BPV changes during the day are not optimum. People with mental health disorders have higher blood pressure at night because their blood pressure doesn’t decrease as much as it should.
Many reasons, including autonomic dysfunction, poor sleep quality, and irregular circadian rhythms, which regulate the sleep-wake cycle, can contribute to the diminished dipping (less than 10%).
It’s time to pay greater attention to the physical effects of mental illness, says Dr. Lim.
Between 11% to 18% (or one billion) of the global population suffer from it. Early treatment is critical since mental illness can worsen the heart’s ability to regulate blood pressure and heart rate.